Dante (2003 – 2011)

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My wife Devvie and I lost today our beloved Italian Greyhound Dante (fawn colored on the right). He seemed fine until yesterday. But yesterday he seemed listless, then limp. That evening Devvie took him to animal emergency (I was teaching). They diagnosed a bleeding mass by his spleen and liver.

Today we took him to the surgeon to have the mass removed. Unfortunately, the ultrasound showed a cancer that had spread throughout his liver. Nevertheless, we were willing to proceed with surgery if that would give him even some chance of prolonging his life by several comparatively healthy months. Therefore, we spent a lot of time with the surgeon exploring all possible options. Unfortunately, there really weren’t any. Even assuming Dante survived the surgery, he only had weeks to live, and these would be painful weeks. Nevertheless, it took us a long time to decide to let go. But in the end we decided we had to do the right thing by him than the selfish thing by us in having a little more time with him.

My wife and I were able to take Dante for a brief walk in the sunshine because the vet had given him blood and fluid transfusions. Still, the poor guy didn’t have a lot of energy. Nevertheless, he seemed to enjoy our walk together, and like his old self sniffed plants, “marked his territory” and barked at other dogs. When after about 10 to 15 minutes he started to tire and limp, I picked him up and we went back into the animal hospital. There, we held him for a while, and told him over and over that he was a good dog and we loved him. He got upset when I left the room briefly to get him some doggie treats, but on my quick return was back to normal and ate the treats. Finally, we held Dante again while he was put to sleep, and kissed him goodbye. He was happy, peaceful and comfortable.

We’re both broken-hearted. Yes, Dante was a dog. However, he also was a member of our family. He was beautiful physically, but even more so on the inside. He was a very gentle dog. He also was a gentleman to our three female dogs, outside the house acting protective, inside the house letting them eat first even though he was larger and stronger than any of them. I will miss him in many ways, including his puppy-like nature, his soulful eyes, and his cuddling up to me in bed. I especially will miss him this Sunday, which would have been his 8th birthday. Goodbye Dante, I miss you.

30 Responses to “Dante (2003 – 2011)”


  • My heart goes out to you.

  • Sorry to hear about your dog, always tough to lose a pet that you have had for a long time. They really do end up being a member of the family.

    P.S. ignore the potentially flippant tweet from earlier…didn’t know your had lost him at the time.

  • I’m sorry about Dante’s loss 🙁 I know he was more than a pet to you. I felt the same way when I lost my cat Minnie about 6 years ago. I still miss her now. Alas, she and Dante are in a better place.
    My best to you and Devvie and the other doggies who, I’m sure, miss Dante also.

  • Hi Devvie and Jeff – I am so sorry. Deborah sent me your e-mail and the pictures. Dante was very blessed to have “parents” as loving and committed as you both. Animals give us unconditional love and in many ways it’s harder to say goodbye to them than their human counterparts. I’m sorry you both had to go through this so suddenly. As my mother says “they don’t live long enough” and that’s true; when they’re taken from us even earlier than that, you really feel cheated. So sorry.

  • Jeff, I’ve just caught up with your blog.
    This is terrible news and I can understand your loss.
    This year, my wife and I rescued a 3 year old Aussie mini and it quickly contracted valley fever. We had only had it for a month and thought we were going to loose him. It was amazing how attached we had become in just one month so I can understand your grief after the years of friendship Dante has given you both.
    My condolences to you and Devvie
    Steve

    • Steve, thank you for your kind words. Yes it is amazing how quickly we become attached. But the only way to avoid this grief — and grief is the right word — is never to have experienced the love. And that would be the worse loss.

  • Jeff & Devvie,

    That’s terrible news and I’m very sorry for your loss. You both did the right thing by letting him go and not letting him suffer any longer than he needed to. Our cat, Ody, will be 17 years old in July and we’ve noticed that he’s slowed WAY down in the last few months so… my gut is telling me that it’s something we may need to deal with soon also. I wish you both well with your adjustment to life without Dante. I’m sure he will be sorely missed.

    Brandon

    • Brandon, I’ve thought about the fact that if Dante had lived to the average age for IG’s, about 12, I would have had 4 more years with him, but the loss would feel just as bad. Thanks for your kind words.

  • I’m sorry to hear of Dante’s loss, pets grow into us and become part of our family. Making it harder to say goodbye, you made a decision that would benefit him, as he did not suffer. My best wished go out to you and Devvi.

  • I’m sorry about Dante’s loss. Losing a loved one is very difficult. I can understand your grief after so many years Dante has been with you.
    My condolences to you and Devvie.
    Edgar

  • Nathan and Leigh Ruyle

    As fellow dog lovers, we send our sincere condolences to you and your family.

  • Professor Kent,
    Just read your blog and was sorry to hear about your family’s loss. Your telling so eloquently captured the immense emotions you are feeling. It settled me and let me share in that experience with you. Thank you for sharing and I pray the best memories of Dante stay with you always.
    Valerie

    • Thanks Valerie. His life span was truncated (private joke between us) but he did have a good life. I only wish we had more time with him. But then again, it would never be enough.

  • Professor Kent,
    Our hearts and prayers go out to you and your family, both human and furry as I am sure your other pets feel the tremendous loss as well. Losing a family member is always trying especially as beloved as one’s pet. But only true pet “parents” could make such a right and unselfish decision and not prolong Dante’s suffering. He is for sure in a better place now. After reading your blog, my girlfriend, who is a huge animal lover (especially cats and dogs), has literally cried “with your family” for two days.

    May the happy memories of Dante always be in your heart! Please accept our deepest condolences,

    Dmitry & Julia

    • Thanks Dmitry. We know we did the right thing by Dante. We were fully prepared to go the surgery route if it would have given him any chance, or even 6 more months of normal life. Unfortunately, there were no such options.

      Hard to tell if the other dogs miss him as you are reading human emotions and thoughts into dogs’ minds. But I think the white IG, Micaela, who was Dante’s buddy, seems to be a bit lonely, so we are giving her extra attention. Devvie and I still miss Dante terribly on this, which would have been his 8th birthday.

  • Sending you our sympathies. We’ve lost two of our dear canine friends in very similar manners in the past 20 months. Hold the others tightly.

    Best wishes.

    • Thanks Dan. We all go through this. They live such short lives. At least we can see that they are happy ones. Dante was a happy dog. I just wish we had him longer.

  • I hope you guys are doing better, a pet is part of the family, especially when they are as smart as dogs. Misses Kent must be devastated she is so sweet! 🙁

  • I’m sorry about Your loss… He was more than a pet. to you, he was part of Your family. He always will be in Your memories. My condolences to You and all your family.

  • I’m so sorry to hear of Dante’s loss. I’m sure he was a great friend for you and your family. I send my condolences to you and your family.

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